If your business is registered for VAT, you can join the flat-rate VAT scheme – instead of calculating all your VATable inputs and outputs, you just multiply your turnover by an assumed flat rate. It makes being VAT registered much easier.
Until it comes to filling out the VAT return. The online return used to be hard to use as the instructions by box 6 said to enter your turnover excluding VAT. But if you’re on the flat-rate scheme, you were supposed to enter your turnover including VAT – even though it said not to. As a result, I wrote a guide to the online flat-rate VAT form.
The government redesigned the form earlier this year, to include these words by box 6:
If you use the flat rate vat scheme, in this box please enter the amount including vat, not excluding vat.
That was nice and clear. Here it is:
They’ve now redesigned the form again, and gone back to saying to enter the amount excluding vat at box 6, and removed the help text for people on the flat rate vat scheme. Like this:
Why? I don’t know. They are idiots. (The instructions elsewhere on the site are still clear: “Enter in Box 6 the flat rate turnover – including VAT – that you applied your flat rate percentage to.”.)
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